Derma E Purifying Gel Cleanser

Date Thu, September 7 2017
Derma E Purifying Gel Cleanser

Derma E Purifying Gel Cleanser

So here’s a weird thing. The folks from Derma E keep sending me goodies, even though i don’t recall working with them in the past, and I don’t know where they got my address. Oops? But one of those goodies has turned out to be pretty useful, so I’m here to tell you about it.

I haven’t yet posted about my frustrations with oily skin this summer (you’ll see a few posts on that in the near future, however!), but it’s been a challenge. When I used up the last of my facial cleanser, I thought I might try something else. Fortunately, I had a box of Derma E products to choose from, and one of those products is their Purifying Gel Cleanser.

Now, it looks like the company has updated their packaging since then. My tube still says it’s a new product and also highlights that it’s good for oily skin. Score! You might also be interested to know that it’s sulfate free and good for normal skin, too.

I was curious about this product because I haven’t used any product with activated charcoal. Can you believe that? It’s all the rage in cleansers and masks/peels, but I’ve yet to use it. Purifying Gel Cleanser was my first. And how did I like it?

It was weird to have the product come out so dark. It’s not quite a black, but it’s a dark grey gel. When I used it, I almost feel like I’m playing Mario Kart and have been inked on by another player, haha.


When you lather, it lightens, however. The texture is a gel and not a cream, so the lather is a little thicker. But I like how it feels on my face.

There’s no darkness that remains when you rinse it off. There’s also no fragrance; although, this cleanser does have a slight cosmetic scent. It’s quite light. I like that my skin feels clean but not tight and dry when I’m done with this. A lot of products to help with acne or oil dry your skin out so much.

Activated Charcoal Gives It a Grey Tint

Activated Charcoal Gives It a Grey Tint

So how did my skin fair?

Pretty well. I didn’t have a breakout when I switched to it, and break outs have been few and far between. Although, no cleanser can completely prevent my hormone-induced acne. It helped clear up oil on my skin, but there are still days when I feel a little slick at the end of the day. This isn’t a deal-breaker. It’s just how my skin is these days.

Now if only I could find a good oil-free foundation or BB cream to pair with it, we’d be in business.

Derma E products are a little pricier than I typically go for, and the Purifying Gel Cleanser is over $15. I am not sure if I’ll replace this tube once I run out, but I would be interested in trying other Derm E products after this.

You can also find Derma E products at Target, Ulta and CVS, which gives you a leg up if you have a Red Card or use coupons. Ulta even has a buy one, get one 50% off sale right now. Check it out. The only con is that Derma E Purifying Gel Cleanser doesn’t seem to be available in stores, so you’ll need to buy online and have it shipped to your home or store. If you’re an Internet shopper like me, you can also add this product to your cart on Amazon or Jet for $12.39, a bit of a savings over buying directly from Derma E.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex

Date Mon, August 21 2017

If I was enlightened and educated by Mary Roach’s  book on cadavers (see my review here), then I am absolutely enthralled with her book on the science of sex.

Now, I’m not only familiar with Mary Roach because of the other book of hers that I’ve read. I first discovered her through an essay she submitted to the Best Sex Writing series in 2009-ish. I’ve also seen at least one her her TED talks on sex, so I am actually more familiar with her as someone who is knowledgeable on the subject of the science of sex than other sciences. Those are just a bonus!

Neither am I a stranger to the general science of sex. I’ve read books and watched TED talks. I subscribe to podcasts and tweet. Hell, I’ve even written content that explains the biology, the physiological, the psychology and sometimes even the sociology of sex. So to say that I was surprised by how much I learned from Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex is one of the highest compliments I can pay.

That isn’t to say that there are not some things that are repeated from other sources. But Roach dives in past the results of the surveys by Masters and Johnson or Kinsey, for example. She contacts researchers or their surviving family members. She discovers who participated and why — and how they may have skewed answers. Roach travels the world to talk to Asian urologists who still perform specific surgeries to help with erectile dysfunction. She talks to experts who might be little known outside of their specific niche or even geographical location. In short, Mary Roach puts in the few work that few people are interested in and, for those who are, even fewer can accomplish themselves. It’s quite the feat!

Mary (and her witting husband) become the subjects in experiments where they have sex in MRIs because there are no other people willing to pick up this mantle. And Roach struggles to measure the distance between her vagina and clitoris, which turns out to be more complicated than you more expect. She’s not shy (neither are most of the characters she comes across in her quest), and it makes for an interesting and educational read.

She knocks on every door, even those in the past. It’s how she’s discovered an oft-forgot fact that shorter women also have a shorter distance between their clitoris and vaginal openings (this is important to a woman’s pleasure and orgasm as you’ll learn if you’re not already aware). She also delves into the history of clitorectomies.

I am continually impressed not only by how intelligent Mary is as an author but how witty. I am sure that I would enjoy discussing Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex with her over a cup of coffee, even though I don’t drink coffee. Her footnotes are clever, and that’s my one complaint with this book: I prefer when footnotes are at the end of each chapter in eBooks. You can easily forget to read footnotes when they’re at the very end of the eBook as they are with Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, and the links to the footnotes don’t seem to work quite right in the copy I was provided through my library. However, you don’t want to miss these notes. They’re hilarious!

In fact, most of my Kindle notes come from the footnotes, including this one.

[the] Atlas of Human Sex Anatomy includes a two-page spread of fourteen thumbnail Coital Diagrams with terse, pronoun-sparse titles: “Pillow Lifts Hips,” “He Diagonally Across.” Chaste as these drawings are—the bed beneath the couple is drawn in more detail than are their faceless, featureless bodies—they were edited out of the first edition. Dickinson tried to appease his publisher by replacing the human forms with a pair of entwining robots; however, he reports, “these evasions proved to be not a little absurd” and the publisher eventually relented.

Despite tackling so many subjects in Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex, I feel like Mary Roach is able to give just about each subject its due attention. You learn more than you expect and get a little information if you’d like to delve further into the subject. However, unless you’re as qualified and adventurous as Mary, it’s going to be quite the task to do that!

The Bold Type

Date Tue, August 15 2017

The Bold Type is a new show on Freeform (formerly ABC family) about three women in their 20s who work at a fashion magazine known as Scarlet: Jane (new journalist), Sutton (aspiring fashion designer currently working as an assistant) and Kat (social media maven). The three women form a fierce friendship in NYW as they navigate work, social media, dating and feminism.

Sound familiar? Well, sort of. I mean, it’s easy enough to compare The Bold Type to any TV show starring a few lady friends. But it’s been a while since we’ve had one of those or, at the very least, since I tuned in. But 2017 is a different year. Sometimes it feels like a different world.

But 2017 is a different year. Sometimes it feels like a different world. People own their feminism loudly as Kat does in this show. Women are strong and know that sometimes the world is sexist and unfair and they have to play by a man’s rules even if it’s unfair. This is perfectly exemplified by the strong material character who is the owner of Scarlet. At times, their boss Jaqueline seems like a mentor similar to Kat Grant in Supergirl.

The Bold Type isn’t just feminist because it features multiple women: it screams it. And I like that.

Of course, not everyone will. Some people will just want to run in for the fashion, the steamy sex scenes and the gossip. You’ll find all of this in The Bold Type, but the script has been updated since shows like Sex and the City, which was more faux-menism than feminism at times.

The Bold Type isn’t perfect, either. It’s unrealistic, and I frequently find myself feeling frustrating toward the characters who at once seem naive and entitled and more fortunate than anyone I’ve ever met in real life. As you’d expect, they’re all thin and beautiful. But while The Bold Type might not look like it’s breaking ground on the outside, watching for a few moments highlights something deeper and more purposeful. The Bold Type seems to be created with an intent that you cannot deny.

I mentioned Supergirl as another show that has feminist leanings. The analogy comes easily because characters in both shows work at a magazine. The Bold Type does more to touch on how magazines are affected by the digital age while Supergirl seems to have a more diverse cast overall (so far we’ve seen a queer POC and a lesbian Muslim in this show, and there’s room to expand). The Bold Type has more sex and fewer superheroes but that’s to be expected.

This new show reminds me of another dramedy that I once enjoyed: Ugly Betty. Of course, The Bold Type makes no attempt to hide how attractive — and perhaps unrealistic — the main characters are. Ugly Betty also has more soap opera-esque elements while The Bold Type remains a bit more realistic. And I hope it continues to be a show that portrays fantasy as plausible rather than a fantastic reality that could never exist.

I can’t imagine that The Bold Type would attract many (straight) male viewers. Some of them might even object. The show has already talked about the very real issues of doxxing, sexism in the tech industry, anti-Muslim sentiment, just to name a few. Although few of these subjects get as much attention as I think they deserve, I am glad that The Bold Type discusses them at all.

If you don’t have Freeform, you can watch The Bold Type on Hulu, which I have been doing.

WordBrain 2

Date Fri, August 11 2017

Recently, I’ve taken to playing a few word games on my phone. The first was a sponsored ad on Facebook, but I quickly grew tired of the monotonous game play and frequent ads. The dictionary was also limited, which means I was sometimes smarter than the app.

Still, it reignited an interest. I’m a bit of a wordy person. Most bloggers are, heh. But I wasn’t quite looking for a social game. I’ve played the back-and-forth games. You always wind up waiting on someone or being the person that someone is waiting on, and it gets monotonous. I just want something that I can log into when I want but that won’t be boring because it lacks social features.

Enter WordBrain. This game does a few things differently. For starters, you’re not just looking for words. Instead, you’re looking for words related to a theme, which is both helpful and challenging.

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Each game consists of a grid. Using each letter once, you find between two and four words related to the theme. Another element that adds to the challenge is that order matters. When you remove a word, letter tiles fall downward, meaning that you can only find some words after you find the words that come first.

There are five levels per each theme. As you find words, you unlock hints or the ability to spin for hints. I find that I’m able to play for a good chunk of time before i’ve used up all the hints and need to put the game down to recharge. It’s a good balance for me.

I’ve progressed over 20% through the game at this point. The grid size increases with each set of words, so you may have to find more words or those that are longer.

Eventually, I’ll reach the end, but WordBrain has a pace that I find quite enjoyable, so I imagine this game will be fun until I finish it.

Get WordBrain 2 from Google Play and Amazon.

Lush Lip Scrub – Popcorn

Date Tue, August 8 2017

Y’all know Lush right? The luxury bath and beauty store?That makes handmade cosmetics? That happen to be natural? Of course, you do!

Now, I’ve been aware of Lush for a while, but I just bought my first Lush product last month. I currently don’t have a bathtub, so a lot of their products aren’t things I can use now. And while I don’t mind the premium price, I’m only going to pay it if I know I’m going to get use out of it.

And if I’m being honest — and I always am — Lush products don’t tend to tickle my nose. They’re a little strong or too floral. So I’ve been in stores a few times but usually leave empty-handed. Not this time, though!

lush lip scrub popcornLush’s lip scrubs come in little pots, and they’re about $11 each. I’ve been keeping an eye out for a lip scrub for a while, but I hadn’t purchased any because many of them use mint as a cooling/tingling/scent/flavor agent. i am so not a fan of mint.

While Lush does make a lip scrub with mint (Mint Julips is the clever name), you’ll also find scents/flavors such as chocolate, bubblegum, and honey. The latter is the other option that I was considering. I wasn’t sure if the sweet and salty combination of popcorn was up my alley. But I decided to give it a go. And I’m glad I did!

I’ve used body scrubs in the past that have either sugar or salt as a base, but the lip scrub has both to achieve a flavor that’s a bit more like kettle corn than your typical butter-covered movie variety popcorn. Compared to body scrubs, this scrub for lips is much dryer. You can’t see an oil or cream base at all (although, it does contain both jojoba oil and extra virgin coconut oil). It’s just damp enough to stick to your finger when you place it in.

i think my favorite aspect of this lip scrub is that you don’t rinse it off. You just lick if off when you’re done. So it’s tasty and.. sort of fun? I’ve always wondered what you’re supposed to do with lip scrub when you use them — you just rinse off body scrubs. Lush has solved that problem by making a lip scrub that’s edible. Clean up is a breeze.. even if it can be a little messy.

After using this lip scrub, the sweetness stays on my lips for a while.

I’ve used this a few times, and it feels pretty gentle. I haven’t had any reactions nor do my lips feel too sensitive after. They’re softer and smoother, though. If you’re looking for a super hydrating lip scrub, I’m not sure if this one is right for you, however. I still use chapstick after but they don’t feel dry after using it.

Check out the popcorn lip scrub from Lush if you’re interested.

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe

Date Thu, August 3 2017

Mario Kart 8 Deluxe is only available for Nintendo’s newest console: the Switch. I’ll discuss this a bit later on. I won’t discuss the function of the system and controllers, however. They work well enough whether you play alone or with others, and I haven’t noticed any kinks with them. I’ll focus on the design and content of the game, instead.

As an owner of Mario Kart 8 for the Wii U, I am no stranger to the tracks that are new to some people. In fact, I think all of the tracks are those that I have played on my game. The only exception is that tracks from Animal Crossing and Zelda (as well as a few characters) that were DLC for Mario Kart 8 now come with Mario Kart 8 Deluxe. This means you can choose the color of your Yoshi, play a Tanooki Mario or race around the track as Link without paying extra.

In fact, much of the games are the same. The number of tracks and grand prix, the ability to play online with one or two players, types of weapons/usable items, and kart customization are among the things that are practically identical. If you liked racing on Mario Kart 8, you’ll like the deluxe version.

What, then, makes it different?

The largest difference is battle mode. What was fun on previous versions of Mario Kart was tedious in Mario Kart 8, This is because of a lack of dedicated battle maps. Instead, players raced around regular tracks, often struggling to find one another to attack. Not only has Nintendo brought back battle-specific maps that feel very much inspired by our favorite maps of years past, but they have multiple battles modes. If you’ve ever played Mario Kart on the DS, you know how fun Shine Runners was, and there’s a similar mode with “shines” as well as another mode where you collect coins. You can still try to pop your friends’ balloons, or you can try your hand at cops-and-robbers style battle, which I found particularly fun,

None of this exists on Mario Kart 8, and unless Nintendo releases it as DLC (I’d be willing to pay to download it if it meant I didn’t have to buy a new system), you’ll be forced to upgrade game and console if you want to truly enjoy battle mode.

There are a few more perks of Mario Kart 8 Deluxe that might win you over, however. As far as I can tell, everything you unlock by collecting coins costs half as much as it does with the original game. This makes it much easier to attain different kart options. I’ve had Mario Kart 8 for years and still haven’t unlocked everything.

Another option that seemed to be a hit with my friends was the ability to have two items at once. If you went through an item box and triggered the item, you’d be able to hit another box to unlock that second item for use as soon as you used up the first.

There are a couple more kart options, items, control/steering tweaks, and characters that are nice but not a deal-breaker in my opinion. Although Mario Kart 8 looked good at 720p, the deluxe version is a gorgeous 1080p. These tracks all look stunning in HD!

What this adds up to is a good reason to invest in the Switch if you’re at all interests, but also a reason for Mario Kart 8 owners like myself to grumble a little. The game is essentially repackaged with a few key features that Nintendo should have included in the beginning, and that leaves me feeling a little sore. But not so much that I can’t enjoy Mario Kart 8 Deluxe for what it is!

“Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World” by Bill Nye

Date Wed, August 2 2017

While Bill focused on convincing the reader that evolution was real, Unstoppable seems less like a debate piece. Bill does take time to discuss and explain climate change (he compares the Earth to our physical homes, which require upkeep), but the assumption is that global warming is real. Most of the arguing on Bill’s part is about how serious climate change is and how quickly we need to do something about it.

Because the book comes across as less persuasive than Undeniable, it makes an interesting read if you’re already of the mind that climate change is possible but wondering what real-world steps can be taken to slow it down or even reverse global warming. Much of Unstoppable is dedicated to the possible steps. I say “possible” because there’s no easy answer or single solution, and Bill is honest about this throughout the pages. He discusses possible options, some of which involve fledgling technologies and may not work as hoped. And he reiterates that it’s going to take a combination of these efforts to make a change.

Some of the ideas he discusses are further reliance on solar and wind energy and why natural gas is only slightly better than coal (methane is worse for the ozone than carbon), so we should only rely on it while moving closer to sustainable energy solutions. He doesn’t shy away from the dangers of nuclear power or the issues that wind turbines cause to wildlife (although, he fails to mention the same for solar farms and birds). Bill Nye outlines the risks and some possible solutions when he can. When he can’t, he points out why those risks might be worthwhile.

But Unstoppable contains a whole slew of potential solutions that aren’t as obvious — from lightening blacktop to creating bubbles on the surfaces of large bodies of water to moving away from streets to traveling via the Hyperloop to living closer to urban areas to reduce your carbon footprint. Not all of these ideas are obvious, and Nye debunks some of the seemingly-obvious solutions that wouldn’t actually work.

Bill Nye also discusses not just the creation of energy but the storage and transfer of energy in easy-to-understand words. The reader is able to appreciate how even when you can produce a lot of energy, being able to access it where you need it is a problem.

Throughout “Unstoppable: Harnessing Science to Change the World,” Bill describes possible solutions to climate change from an engineer’s point of view. And this is one of my favorite parts of the book. In the latter half of the book, Bill details the changes he’s made to his property and home — a modest property that he’s extensively updated to be more green. Not-so-coincidentally, those changes have paid off big for the science guy.

I found this section particularly interesting because Bill hasn’t just added solar panels to his roof (he has — and smart ones at that), but he’s also adjusted his fireplace to be more efficient, switched to a solar water heater and an efficient hot water system, turned his yard into a dry landscape (as well as a garden), swapped windows to those that left light filter in while blocking heat and uses small, focused skylights instead of light fixtures. This fixture not only opens a window into Bill’s mind as an engineer and a tinkerer who is often hands-on when it comes to these projects, but it shows the different options that exist for homeowners who are interested in

This section not only opens a window into Bill’s mind as an engineer and a tinkerer who is often hands-on when it comes to these projects, but it shows the different options that exist for homeowners who are interested in living a more green lifestyle (and ultimately reaping the benefits from themselves). Bill discusses some of the challenges from upfront cost to difficulty acquiring certain materials, but it’s all interesting.

I only wish those sections came with pictures, if not of his home then of similar setups, so readers could get a better idea. But Bill paints a pretty good picture with his words. I found myself excitedly talking about the technologies and solutions he mentions to anyone who mentions.

In fact, I like Unstoppable enough that I think I’ll buy it (I checked out the ebook through my library), so I can reference it again and again!